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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  25 February 2014  

Thai army chief speaks his heart out, hoping for way forward for kingdom

Thailand’s army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha today called on the government to urgently end the widening use of weapons to attack protesters, judges, independent agencies and state office buildings.

He said the use of weapons, whether on protesters or the authorities, was a serious offence against the law while anti-government protesters must be warned against intruding into government property or using weapons against the authorities.

Releasing an official statement on Channel 5 – the army television station, Gen Prayuth said the army is concerned with the safety of the Thai people given the intensifying situation which is resulting in more deaths and injuries.  

"Today, the army tried to discuss with the prime minister, national police chief, Center for Maintaining Peace and Order and all protesting groups to jointly end violence and hunt for culprits who have aggressively used war weapons.

“It is responsibility of the state, military and police officials, and all quarters to prevent and crack down on violent activities which have become more serious and led to massive damage in the country.”

Quoting an intelligence report, he said several groups of people were responsible for violent incidents and the majority of them were involved in the 2010 political unrest.

The political protest against then Abhisit Vejjajiva government in 2010 was spearheaded by Red Shirt supporters who today strongly support the present government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

He said all factions in society should consider if it would be possible to peacefully resolve the conflicts, adding that the use of military force might not solve the core problem but would possibly invalidate the Constitution.

Gen Prayuth said the army has abided by the Constitution in dispatching personnel to provide round-the-clock protection to people in areas under enforcement of a special law.

“How can we be assured that the situation will end peacefully if  military forces are in full operation but all factions fail to tone down their conditions or accept the rule of law in the context of Thai society?” the army chief asked.  

“Will the full use of military forces be accepted by people beyond the conflicts? We have to think carefully in light of Thailand’s present economic and social landscape and the significance of foreign perspectives towards Thailand.  Our involvements in terms of economy, exports, imports and foreign investment must be taken into consideration.”

Gen Prayuth was apparently referring to indirect calls by some quarters for the army to stage a coup to end the political impasse once and for all.

“Compared to the 2010 political turmoil, the 2013-2014 conflicts are more complicated and all factions must urgently talk for fair and equal resolutions. We have to jointly march towards resolutions systemically and peacefully, and stop exploiting laws in fighting each other. Resolutions need the people’s power nationwide based on national interest.  

“The military does not want to use forces or weapons to fight against Thai people with different opinions. Laws can be fully enforced. If there are further losses, our nation will collapse. There will no longer be winners or losers.”

He said judicial bodies and independent agencies must be allowed to work without pressure while every faction’s movement must be in accord with the Constitution without violating the laws or infringing on other people’s right and freedom.

He said instigation and slander against the authorities on the social media which has widened conflicts compelled him to issue his statement today, hoping that it would stop future losses among Thai people.  

He said the army which has been successively dragged into the conflicts has been patient while its responsibilities on border and security protection in Thailand’s three southern border provinces have continued.  

“I do hope that resolutions to the country will move on peacefully and speedily without creating more conflicts,” he concluded. (MCOT online news)

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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